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Fallout 4: Everything You Need To Know About Settlements

Fallout 4 doesn’t explain settlements all that well in the tutorial like quests. After you’ve been told to build you 5th beacon it’s easy to become disillusioned and stop. The wasteland needs you and there’s no harm in looking up a few hints on running Sanctuary or the Castle.

Working hard to get your settlements up to 100 Happiness? Looking to fashion an army that will wear whatever you want them to?

You’re going to need all the Fallout 4 Settlement tips and tricks to make that happen. Thankfully Non-Fiction Gaming has just the details you need to build a sustainable town.

Unlocking the Benevolent Leader Achievement

Benevolent Leader is a tough achievement to get in Fallout 4. You can earn it by having a large town with a maximum happiness level.

This guide will show you how to reach maximum happiness in a large settlement in Fallout 4 and unlock the Benevolent Leader trophy.

Perks For The Ultimate Settlements

You should know that some more advanced structures require you to have certain perks in various trees, so you probably won’t be able to build all the available stuff until later in the game.


If you’re focusing on building settlements, here are all the perks needed to unlock everything:

Gun Nut 1 – Allows Heavy Turrets (INT 3)

Science 1 – Allows Industrial Water Purifiers (INT 6)

Science 4 / Gun Nut 3 – All the extra Turrets. Not “needed,” as Heavy Turrets have the same defence value. Missile Turrets and Heavy Lasers are pretty amazing (INT 6, LVL 41 / INT 3, LVL 25)

Local Leader 2 – Needed for Supply lines and for trade stands. (CH 6, LVL 14)

Cap Collector 2 – For Level 3 trade stands (CH 1, LVL 20)

Medic 1 – Clinics (INT 2)

Scrapper 1 or 2 (Optional) – You can salvage uncommon components like screws, aluminum, and copper when scrapping weapons and armor. Makes building up that materials stockpile a little easier. (INT 5)

Getting Started

Settlers need 1 food and 1 water and a bed to stay at 50% happiness. The higher your happiness the more productive your settlers will be. If happiness falls too low, you can lose control of a settlement.

Some structures such as defence posts and shops require you to assign settlers manually. An unemployed settler will usually assign themselves to food production or a scavenger table, however it’s usually best to assign them yourself.

You can trade your settlers weapons, ammo, armour, and even grenades, but you must equip them yourself. The button to equip them is listed on the bottom of the screen in the trade menu and varies by platform. Use this to give your assigned settlers a uniform, either distinctive clothing or items you’ve named from the crafting tables can work well here.

Food For Thought

The more you feed your settlers, the happier they will be. Each will consume up to 2 food before excess is stored in the workshop. So if you have 20 settlers and want them to be really happy, have at least 40 food.


Each settler can usually work 6 food worth. So that’s 6 Mutfruit trees or 12 Tato plants. They don’t need variety but it can be good as the extra will be stored and is usable in some crafting.

Water Water Everywhere

There is a bit to consider here. Water is good. Purified water is better. Settlers will always drink from a local water source, then draw water that is needed from a supply line. This is important.

If you want a settlement to be very happy, and it does not have a place for a water purifier, you must connect a supply line, delete Water Pumps in the settlement, and produce excess purified water at another settlement.


Fortunately, Sanctuary, The Castle, and Taffington Boathouse are capable of HUGE amounts of water production and a large defence to keep it safe.

These will provide a steady supply of purified water, which can be sold for profit or used as a healing item.


Each settler needs their own bed. Any bed is enough. A bed with a roof over it will make settlers happy . Mattresses make them happier than sleeping bags, and beds with frames make them happier than mattresses.
Fallout 4 Settlements Beds
The best bed is a bed with a frame under a roof. So dont leave your settlers out in the rain.


All except Weapons and Armour add happiness. Bars and Medical seem to have the most effect.

For this to work you will have to have at least 6 Charisma value, as stated above you’ll need some of the perks in the Charisma tree, high enough level and some spare settlers. You probably shouldn’t dabble into this until at least level 14 (required level to unlock one of the perks needed for this).
Fallout 4 Settlements Shops
The whole point is to build shops in your settlement. They become a good spot to offload your own loots from killing and raiding. These shops will also generate passive income over time and are a great way not to go broke in the Commonwealth. Initial investment can be a bit steep, but it soon pays off.

You have to have two points in the Local Leader perk from the Charisma tree (requires 6 CHA and level 14) to be able to build shops. Once you do that you have to assign a free settler to the shop, for it to become active.

To get the higher tier (lvl 3) stores, you’ll need the Cap Collector 2 Perk. Profit deposited into your workbench will be based on the number of settlers you have.


Your settlement has chance of being attacked. To deter attacks, build defences. A base with less defence than the total of its combined resources is likely to be attacked. A base with a 2X Defence to Resources ratio is almost never attacked.


Make your defences high up and hard to access. The last thing you need is a Super mutant bashing your Spotlight with a Super Sledge. Make him run through a hail of gunfire and die on the way.

Create a firing line. Line your turrets up where they can support each other.

Use the terrain. Build or use natural choke points and defend them heavily.

Defend the inside of your base, too. A perimeter is not sufficient. Enemies can and will spawn inside your walls.

Put your generators well behind your defences. They are primary targets keep them safe.

Supply Lines

Supply Lines connect the workshops of settlements. They will transfer food, water, and junk between settlements. They will not transfer stored constructed items. What this means is dumping junk in any workshop will allow it to be used for parts in any connected workshop.

Also, if a surplus in food or water exists at a connected settlement, it will supply a deficit to a connected settlement.

Fallout 4 Settlement Map Non Fiction GamingFallout 4 Supply Lines Map Connecting Settlements by Non-Fiction Gaming

Supply lines make a network. Only 1 connection to the network is needed per settlement. Settlers assigned to supply lines become Provisioners.

Provisioners can not be killed, thought they may be mortal on Survival difficulty.

Like all settler they can be equipped including guns, grenades, and Combat Armour. To assign a Supply Line enter the Workshop and highlight the settler. The key will be displayed in the list at the bottom of the screen and varies by platform.

Power Generators

Medium Generators are the lowest net junk cost per power produced. Use large generators if you are at your build limit and need space.

Fallout 4 Power

Lights do not consume power but must be near a Power Coupler to work. Imagine a sphere of 2 prefab units in radius. If it is inside that sphere it should light up. Make sure a power line is strung to the power coupler.

Lights increase a settlement’s happiness.

More Tips and Tricks

  • Use Wooden Floor #5 with the concrete foundation to level off an area. Place a Wood floor #1 at the level you want, and snap the foundations to it. This can be a great way to ‘fix’ the walls of The Castle.
  • You can keep a tight perimeter for beds / traders and put your farms outside of it. Turrets have a very long range, the higher up they are, the better their line of sight can be.
  • Build a Food / Drink stand and surround it with a chair for each of your settlers. They will hang out at night and socialize.
  • Settlers who are not assigned a job will sit at the Food / Drink stand after 9 am.
  • Settlements with a powered recruitment beacon may gain up to one settler per day. If your base is full, you can move a settler to another settlement, and that settlement can grow again.
  • A Bell or a Siren will alert settlers to danger. Your settlers will use it on their own when they see danger.
  • Brahman might, one day, for a few seconds, hang out at a Brahman Feeding Trough. Do not believe their lies.
  • Once your settlers are nice and well fed, assign excess settlers to the Scavenger Stations. #1 under Resources, Misc.
  • Flags are located under wall decorations and are available based on your allegiances.
  • All manner of decorations will add a very slight increase to happiness. Once your base is set up feel free to decorate liberally.
  • Caravans can be added to your settlements by completing a quest chain in Bunker Hill. First clear the National Guard Armoury for Deb, then talk to Kessler to get the quest Kill Zeller. Rescue the captured caravan survivors, then complete. You will be able to build a caravan post in your settlement. This will cause the traders from Bunker Hill to stop at your settlements.

Anything Missing?

Do you know how I can tell if someone is a Synth? They don’t leave a comment below when they have other Fallout 4 Settlement tips to add. If you see someone withholding information like that, please report them immediately.

Take care out there in the wasteland.

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Daniel Ryan
Daniel Ryanhttps://www.nonfictiongaming.com/author/nfgdan/
Daniel 'Sheriff Dan' Ryan is a long time Dungeon Master who has worked in Esports, Marketing, and writes about Gaming when the sun goes down.


  1. Great article thanks. Wish someone would have told me about removing the power core whenever I parked my Power armour though. Got jacked by a ghoul of all things!

    • Oh wow a goul? I knew people could take power armour if you leave a core in but a goul. That’s upsetting.

      I guess you can strip the armour plates and go buy another frame. But still annoying as hell.

      I always take out the core when I exit, but I’m more worried Nick would jump in and steal it.

  2. Another thing is that synths will replace your settlers feom time to time and it will bring thw happiness down. You can tell who the synth is by taking the perk that allows you to see weaknesses in vats and every now and then scanning your settlers with it. Synths have a high energy weakness.

    • I’ve heard about this a fair bit but haven’t seen or done the absolute testing on it.

      (Make sure you save before slaughtering settlers, the green hat can give energy resistance so be careful in who you point the finger at)

      Worth considering though. Thanks for the comment.

    • Thats fake. Youtube blogger Oxhorn proved that synth dont decrease happiness. Google for his video “Part 2 – The Great Fallout 4 Happiness Experiment – Settlement Happiness”

  3. Bramin feed trough, like backless benches, HAVE a front and back. Found this out with a bench I put indoors, people sit on it with their legs through a wall. Bramin don’t fit so try truning it around.

    Having enough beds is a lie, they need to ne 100% accessible. Anything/everything blocks beds, including but not limited to:
    sleeping bags
    Beds too close together
    Dirt floors (read outside ground)

    Synth with energy resist isn’t always accurate. Killed one without energy resist. Set her as a supply line, which are immortal. Ran through sargus ironworks and dies. Reloaded a save and checked her, no resists.

  4. Great article man, probably the best guide on the net I’ve seen. Succinct yet comprehensive.

    One thing I noticed is that you if you put your excess weapons in containers, your settlers may just nab them in the event of an attack.
    Annoying for me, as I like to hoard spare weapons and distribute them to my liking, and I don’t appreciate random settlers just nicking them without my knowledge. My solution is to keep the weapons in a box on the roof and remove the ladder.

    • Another thing you can do is have one settlement without any settlers. Have all your work benches located there. Have all your extra junk, aid, weapons, and armor stored there, allowing you to craft and not be bothered with the above issues mentioned.

    • I think that putting them behind a powered door in a armory of sorts may fix the problem, but you will need a switch not a pressure plate, setters may still teleport inside though, can’t test right now because I ran out of materials for building.

  5. The only point I would add is about water/food in the workbench and supply lines. Excess water/food is not deposited in the workbench until the settlement has had the resources in place (water purifier powered/crops planted) for a full in-game day. If the player removes excess water/food to sell, this will cause other dependent settlements to decrease in happiness and show the resource as red in the dependent settlements workshop menu. However, this effect is not immediate, it works like this:
    – 1 in-game day to produce excess.
    – If excess is removed from the workshop, dependent settlements decrease in happiness starting at the end of the in-game day that the excess was removed (supply line missed their pickup).
    – Once the next day starts, the water-producing settlement will replenish it’s excess, but dependent settlements will be unhappy until the start of next day (next supply line pickup).
    – If the excess is removed again, dependent settlements will continue to decrease in happiness until the water-producing settlement has had over a full day to produce its excess and get a supply line pickup.

    This can cause confusion to players and I have not seen it expressly explained anywhere on the web. This is why it is always a good idea to have multiple farms/water producing settlements so you can loot the workbench of one settlement and make CAP$.
    (My Sanctuary has 800 water and each day i loot it, I get 500+ purified water and sell to my level 4 merchants to make about 7000 caps. Money is not a problem.)

  6. great article and really great tips i have one and it may be known by people found out that by aiming a weapon at a robot of any sort and not just close to them be them passive or enemy if you have the hacking skill you can turn them of blow them up or anything your skill lets you.Anyway just a tip if some don’t know it and i only found it out by accident.

  7. I’ve found that SETTLER BEACONS will function similar to POWER PYLONS but ONLY as long as they are powered on. If you turn it off without replacing it with a pylon your power grid will be broken at that point, only being powered on the end where the generator is located. Just like a pylon the wire connects visually but not functionally.

    …couldn’t figure out why my water purifier wasn’t working on the long end of the circuit. Settlement was getting busy so I turned off the beacon for a bit… resources on the generator end continued to work. Took a while to figure out the other end of the chain wasn’t.

  8. I’ve read about 15-20 guides on settlements now (maybe more) and yours is the only one that mentions that stuff you have built and stored in the workshops (like generators/recruitment beacons) cannot be shared by supply lines. I noticed this myself but everyone else seems oblivious. Good job.

  9. Stores/Bar – special store, because settlers out of job tend to group around the bar, so it can be used to control settlers movement. Experienced players build separate house or atleast room for bar only (when size of the settlement allows it).

    Defence – 2 rules: high position and concentrated fire. Use any elevation (like roofs in Sanctuary) or build a platform at least one floor hight. Position turrets in groups / lines.

    Energy – never build medium and big generators! It’s just the question of space effective use. Medium generator take place of 6 small generators, and makes only 5 energy, while small generators placed on the same space, make 12 energy. Big generator take place of 8 small generators, and have hight of 2 floors, so its basically 16 small generators, and makes only 10 energy, while small generators placed on the same space, make 16*3=48 energy. Wind generators even worse that that. If you have WW DLC – just scrap all your generators and build one reactor for 100 energy (two, if you real energy waster, noone can waste more than 200 energy in this game).

    So i pass the sinth test, or i have to destroy all humans in this location?

  10. I have noticed that the more frames of power armour in a settlement the happier, I do not know by how much but I took power armour from sanctuary which had 73 happiness over to spectacle island which had 70 happiness, once all the power armours were moved (5) sanctuary went down to 60 hapiness and spectacle island went up to 83 hapiness!

  11. Does anybody happen to know of a supply route map that’s been updated to include new settlements like Vault 88? Currently I have one going from Jamaica Plain to Vault 88, and will have one going from the vault to Warwick once I unlock it pretty shortly. Curious what other people suggest, though.

  12. If you can catch the Brahmin at the feeding trough, you can quickly fence him in without a gate and he/she/it will not be able to wander into your buildings or farms

  13. If you have reached your max on settlement building size just scrap a wire while you have the building piece selected and the piece will appear for you to place. Then just string the wire again and repeat for more building pieces. I have more than doubled the allowable size of 7 of my settlements this way and so far my game has not crashed. I place a rug on the ground then I place about 5 ground wire connectors on the rug then string and scrap wires to build larger settlements. The rug allows me to take it wherever I need it to build.

  14. ?… I’m kinda new to the fallouts… 4 is the only I’ve played. Big fan! I have all supply lines going back to sanctuary. One day I noticed a stray line from vault 88 to the covenant. But I didn’t do the mission for covenant yet so I didn’t have that work shop. Since I have the covenant now I’ve noticed 2 more stray supply lines I didn’t assign coming from the covenant. Does anyone know why this is doing this? I’m a little OCD and these stray lines are really messing up my program! Thanks for any input

  15. Great post, very helpful.
    For anyone likes to be very specific in placement of trivial things from coffee cups to skulls for decoration… My friend told me after you pick an item up by holding x, not only can you can rotate it with R2 and L2, but you can also change the axis with L3. SUPER useful for getting my toothbrush and toothpaste right on the sink where I want it. Until I accidentally walk too close and knock it over.


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